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Press Release - Bong Go pushes for enhanced 2024 DOH budget, with focus on grassroots health services and health worker support

During the plenary debates for the 2024 budget of the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, November 15, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, emphasized the significance of the agency's budget for the nation's post-pandemic recovery.

"I want to underscore the importance of the 2024 budget of the DOH in our path towards recovery," stressed Go, underscoring that now is a critical time to invest in the healthcare system to meet emerging challenges.

Go inquired about the specifics of DOH's budget request, to understand the additional funding sought and the prioritization of various health programs. Senator Pia Cayetano, senior vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, responded that the Senate increased the DOH budget by nearly P50 billion from the proposed P306.13 billion to P353 billion, outlining the extended support for health initiatives.

Go expressed his support for the budget increase, noting his advocacy for enhanced health facilities, especially public hospitals that predominantly serve the underprivileged.

"Mahalaga na patuloy nating i-upgrade ang ating mga pampublikong ospital na karamihan naman ay mahihirap ang pumupunta," he stated.

Go championed the goal of bringing healthcare closer to the grassroots through the integration of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation's (PhilHealth) Konsulta package with Super Health Centers, which are designed to focus on primary care, consultation, and early detection, thus bolstering primary healthcare services across the nation.

Cayetano confirmed the enhancement of PhilHealth's budget to P101 billion, with P21 billion allocated for benefit package improvement, including the Konsulta package.

The senator then turned his attention to the newly passed Regional Specialty Centers Act, probing into the allocation for the establishment of specialty centers in DOH hospitals.

He highlighted the importance of this initiative, saying, "We passed the Regional Specialty Centers Act. P10 billion is already included in the committee report for the implementation of this law. This is a multi-year program, and sana po'y